Café Riche, Paris


Joaquin Torres-Garcia ( Uruguayan, 1874 - 1949 )

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General Description

Painted during Joaquín Torres-García’s brief yet critical stay in Paris between 1926 and 1932, Café Riche evokes the sights and sensations of street life in the French capital through incredibly minimal, semi-abstract means. During this period, Torres-García encountered the geometric abstractions of artists like Piet Mondrian, as well as the schematic imagery and pictograms of indigenous art from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. The influence of these artistic sources is evident in this depiction of a cityscape rendered with simplified black lines overlaid on a gridlike patchwork of pure colors. This balance of geometric abstraction with human vitality would provide the basis for Torres-García’s breakthrough Universal Constructivist style, which he developed shortly after this painting.

Excerpt from

Nicole Myers, DMA label copy, 2018.

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